Jun 24, 2010

Swami Vivekananda - A Role Model to Youth

Swami Vivekananda is widely considered to have inspired India's freedom struggle movement. His writings inspired a whole generation of freedom fighters including Subhash Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Ghosh and Bagha Jatin. Aurobindo Ghosh considered Vivekananda as his spiritual mentor.  He said, “Vivekananda was a soul of puissance if ever there was one, a very lion among men, but the definitive work he has left behind is quite incommensurate with our impression of his creative might and energy. We perceive his influence still working gigantically, we know not well how, we know not well where, in something that is not yet formed, something leonine, grand, intuitive, upheaving that has entered the soul of India and we say, "Behold, Vivekananda still lives in the soul of his Mother and in the souls of her children”.  Vivekananda inspired Jamshedji Tata to set up Indian Institute of Science, one of India's finest Institutions.
Several leaders of 20th Century India and philosophers have acknowledged Vivekananda's influence. The first governor general of independent India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, once observed that "Vivekananda saved Hinduism, saved India." According to Subhas Chandra Bose, Vivekananda "is the maker of modern India" and for Mahatma Gandhi, Vivekananda's influence increased his "love for his country a thousand fold."  This was a most fitting gesture as much of Swami Vivekananda's writings concerned the Indian youth and how they should strive to uphold their ancient values whilst fully participating in the modern world.
Abroad, he had some interactions with Max Müller. Scientist Nikola Tesla was one of those influenced by the Vedic philosophy teachings of the Swami Vivekananda.   The French Nobel Laureate, Romain Rolland writes, "His words are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of Handel choruses. I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of books, at thirty years' distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shocks, what transports, must have been produced when in burning words they issued from the lips of the hero!"
In 1984, the Government of India declared and decided to observe the Birthday of Swami Vivekananda (12 January, according to English calendar) as National Youth Day every year from 1985 onwards. To quote from the Government of India’s Communication, ‘it was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth.’

Listen to talk on Swami Vivekananda

Read the life of Swami Vivekananda

Jun 16, 2010

Six Steps to a Stronger Mind

By Swami Sunirmalananda

Our minds are all we've got. They are the source of who we, both personally and professionally, are. They determine our success or failure. They are our strength and our weakness.

With the quality of our entire lives resting on our minds, it's unbelievable that we choose to fill them with so much garbage. The amount of negativity from television, newspapers, tabloids and other media that bombards us on a daily basis is amazing. We would never think to fill our bodies with only junk food, right? Heck no! We know that if we ate nothing but French fries and ice cream we would experience negative consequences like skin blemishes, weight gain and rotting teeth.

But with mental junk food we don't see the physical consequences right away. When our minds are constantly filled with negativity and bad news, our minds begin to decay. That's why we need to develop a strong, herculean-esque mind.

Developing your mental muscles will give you the power to accomplish anything you want in life. Sure, it takes some discipline on your part, but look at the world's greatest bodybuilders. They don't show up at the gym every once in a while. They create a workout schedule and they are at the gym every day, no matter what.

Hire yourself as your mental manager. Figure out how much you're going to pay yourself and make up a job list. Here are six jobs to assign to yourself to create a stronger mind.

1. Read Right - How much good news do you see in the newspapers? Editors usually say, "If it bleeds, it leads." Not much chance of positivity there. So, read something else. Read books, good books, books that motivate you, books that inspire you. Look up some of the great inspirational authors in your local bookstore. Read them every morning and/or night, before you go to sleep.

2. Share Your Mind - Find someone, or a group of people who have the same desire to share positivity. This is called masterminding. Great successes are created when great minds come together and think about the same things.

3. Find A Mentor - I learnt a lot more from my mentor about life, than I ever hoped to. Who are the people you admire most, whether you know them or not? Figure out whom you'd like to emulate and study them. If they offer seminars, attend them. If they've written books, read them.

4. Listen to Motivational/Inspirational CDs and Tapes - This is one of the most important habits you can create for yourself. Find inspirational audio messages and listen to them over and over. Earl Nightingale, one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time, had this to say on the subject: "Tape listening is the most important advance in technology since the invention of the printing press." With audio tapes and CDs, speakers can reach 10 times as many people as the printed word ever could.

5. Sign Up and Attend Seminars - The motivational messages you hear at seminars, and the inspirational people you meet, reinforce your self-esteem and positive thinking. You can search out seminars via the internet, newspapers or local colleges and universities.

6. Turn Off the Television - On an average, the television set in a home is on for over 4 hours a day. Just like any bad habit, it needs to be broken. I'm not saying that all television is bad. No. I'm simply recommending that you cut back on your television viewing. Decide how long you're going to watch television and then turn it off when your time is up. Try cutting back your television viewing one hour every day at first. You can use that time to read a book, listen to a motivational tape, walk your dog or spend time with your family.
After reading these six steps maybe you're saying, "But, I can't do it. I just don't know if I can be this dedicated to bettering myself!" Who else are you going to be dedicated to if not to yourself? Because when it comes right down to it, folks, you are all that you've got. Jobs and relationships come and go. Children grow up, leave the nest and get lives of their own. Then there you are, alone with yourself. Why not create a "you" you can be proud of!


Jun 12, 2010

Swami Vivekananda's 150th Birth Anniversary Committee - PM's remarks

150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda 

Government of India has decided to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda and a National Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. 

The first meeting of the National Committee was held on 20 May 2010 in New Delhi, and presided over by the Prime Minister. In his opening remarks Dr. Manmohan Singh said, Swami Vivekananda did a lot to inculcate a national consciousness among the people. His message was universal and based on rationality and righteousness. It was a message that appealed to people of all classes, castes and creeds. His message of unity and brotherhood has far-reaching appeal and relevance even today. 

Some portion of PM's opening remark: 

“I am grateful to the distinguished members for joining us today for the first meeting of the National Committee for the Commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda which falls in 2013. Swami Vivekananda was one of our greatest spiritual leaders and will always be a revered figure in India's history and culture. We should work sincerely to celebrate the commemorative year in a befitting manner. 

Swami Vivekananda did a lot to inculcate a national consciousness among the people. His message was universal and based on rationality and righteousness. It was a message that appealed to people of all classes, castes and creeds. His message of unity and brotherhood has far-reaching appeal and relevance even today. 

We hope to use the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary to promote interest, particularly among our youth in his values, thoughts and ideals. In fact, we celebrate Swami Vivekanand's birthday on 12th January as National Youth Day every year. We recall on this day his memorable call to "Work, work, work ". 

Swami Vivekananda thought deeply about education and what it meant for Indian society. He conceived of education as the primary means of rebuilding Indian society. For him, education meant secular learning that built character and instilled human values in students.

I am happy that among the proposals we have received is one from the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission in Belur that is based on this theme. It seeks to promote and implement Vivekananda's ideas on value based education. Our education system today is information based and does not give adequate emphasis on building core values. I think that thought should be given to how we can mainstream some of Swami Vivekananda's ideas on education into our school and college curricula. 

Source and full text of PM's speach:

Jun 4, 2010

Orientation Ceremony

The June 2010 session began on 2 June.  The Orientation Ceremony was held on 2 and 3 June in six batches.

Rev. Swami Jnanadanandaji Maharaj, Adhyaksha of Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad urged the students to utilize the opportunity properly by not only learning languages but also utilizing the temple for meditation and library for reading good books. Swami Bodhamayanandaji, Director, Vivekananda Institute of Human Excellence, inspired the students by Swami vivekananda’s message and urged them to inculcate patriotism, self discipline, self confidence etc. Swami Anupamanandaji, Director, Vivekananda Institute of Languages, apprised the students about the course and programmes of Ramakrishna Math.

Mr. Subba Rao GVSM, Mr. John SMP, Mr. Sumyog S., Mrs. Sachi Hari K., Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Krishnan and Mr. Ram Mohan Rao J. conducted the programme. The students who excelled in the previous session received certificates. The advanced level students shared their wonderful experiences of learning languages at VIOL.

Altogether 6,815 students have taken admission for the current session for Sanskrit, Hindi, Spoken English, German, French, Spanish and Japanese languages.